Osaka to report nearly 600 new COVID-19 cases as Tokyo records 414

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Osaka Prefecture was set to report nearly 600 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as Tokyo recorded 414 new infections, more than a week after the lifting of a state of emergency for the metropolitan area.

The figure for Tokyo was down slightly from the 420 reported last Wednesday. The capital saw 409 cases on March 17, 340 on March 10 and 316 on March 3.

But rises have not only been seen in Tokyo. Osaka Prefecture has seen infections surge, with media reports putting Wednesday’s figure at around 590. The prefecture reported 432 cases on Tuesday, its highest daily figure since Jan. 24. That surpassed the 364 infections reported in Tokyo the same day.

Among Wednesday’s new cases in Tokyo,115 people were in their 20s, 66 were in their 40s and 64 were in their 30s, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said in a statement. Those age 65 or older totaled 71 cases.

The number of severely ill COVID-19 patients under the metropolitan government’s criteria rose by six from a day earlier to 45.

The cumulative number of cases in the capital is now 120,986. The results came after 1,724 tests were conducted Sunday. It usually takes about three days for test results to affect the daily case count.

Meanwhile, Osaka is planning to ask the central government to designate the prefecture as an area requiring stronger anti-virus measures, making it the first in the country to seek binding pre-emergency measures based on a revised law that took effect in February. These include fines for businesses that do not comply with restrictions on operating hours.

“The number of COVID-19 patients is increasing as an indication of the fourth wave of infections,” Ichiro Matsui, mayor of the city of Osaka, told reporters on Tuesday. “The local medical system will be strained again unless we curb new cases as much as we can.”

On Tuesday, Japan confirmed 2,087 new cases, rising above 2,000 for the first time in three days.

Hyogo Prefecture, which borders Osaka, saw 176 cases on Tuesday, the most since the end of February, while Miyagi Prefecture, which has been hit by a rapid spread of the virus, reported 121 and neighboring Yamagata Prefecture confirmed 27 infections.

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